Brainerd: Cruz Pedregon preview

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 9, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Funny Car, and his team head to Brainerd International Raceway for the NHRA Nationals, August 9-12, the 16th of 23 powerhouse events of the NHRA POWERade Drag...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 9, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Funny Car, and his team head to Brainerd International Raceway for the NHRA Nationals, August 9-12, the 16th of 23 powerhouse events of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Brainerd marks the premier of Kevin Butterfield as interim crew chief for the Advance Auto Parts team. Butterfield will be led by Dickie Venables, crew chief for Tony Pedregon's Q Horsepower team.

There was little time off for the Advance Auto Parts Funny Car team last weekend as they participated in the Night Under Fire match race in Norwalk, Ohio. Pedregon used the event to prepare for this weekend's NHRA Nationals in Brainerd and to find the elusive gremlins that surfaced in Sonoma.

"We made an extra run at Norwalk," explained Pedregon. "We learn from every run we make down the track. I'm optimistic about what we learned, but we'll let our performance on the track do the talking for us. Our goal for Brainerd is to get this Advance Auto Parts car in the field and race hard as we always do."

Pedregon is on the move and knows that a strong finish in Brainerd will propel him back in contention for the Countdown to the Championship. With only two races remaining in the regular season, he is 16 points behind 9th place, Del Worsham and 101 points from Jim Head in 8th place in the Countdown to the Championship point battle.

"We need to bounce back at this race," said Pedregon. "I've said all along that we are good enough to be in the top eight, but we have to go out and make it happen. I've challenged myself and my team to rise to the occasion. We have to get it done this weekend. We have had success at this track in the past, so let's see if we can rekindle that fire."

He has good reason for his fondness of Brainerd International Raceway.

"We started our Championship run there in 1992," said Pedregon. "We went on to grab the win after qualifying number one. I really like the facility with all the trees and the campground setting. They renovated the race track several years ago and it's now one of the top race tracks in the country; it's really underrated. It's a great race for the fans, too. They enjoy the speed."

The key to victory is achieving consistent performance with each pass down the 1,320.

"I like this race because we qualify at nearly the same time we'll be competing on Sunday," Pedregon said of the all daytime qualifying format. "Sure, everyone is in the same situation, but I think it will help us focus in on a tune up that gets us down the track, from A to B.If we can get our consistency back, then I think we have a shot."

With its 700 foot concrete launch pad, one of the longest on tour, NHRA race fans are certain to see fast times and tight competition as Pedregon and his team battle for a spot in the top eight in the Countdown to Championship.

-credit: pr

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